Losing the White Democratic in the Deep South

    Democrat Mary Landrieu lost her Senate seat to Republican Bill Cassidy in a runoff election in Louisiana. As of 2015 there will be no white Democratic elected officials in the Deep South at the federal or state level. I lived and worked in Alabama for six years of my life. I’ve also traveled several times to Georgia and Mississippi. Honestly, I love the Deep South. The people are some of the most welcoming, thoughtful people in the world. I interned for the Alabama Democratic Party. I traveled across the state and met some of the most dedicated Democrats, both black and white. In 2008 Barack Obama became this country’s first black President. In my last two years in … Continue reading

Practicing Subsidized Un-Medicine

  by Walter Brasch   Clutching newspaper clippings in one hand and a medical bag loaded with seeds in the other, my ersatz friend Dr. Franklin Peterson Comstock III, knocking down pregnant ladies, students, the elderly, and two burly construction workers who were waiting for a bus, rushed past me, leaving me in a close and personal encounter with the concrete. “Medical emergency!” Comstock cried out. “Gang way!” “You’ve returned to medicine?” I shouted after him. “I’m going into un-medicine!” he shouted back. “I’m getting the big bucks not to operate!” This was a story too good to let by, so I gave up any hope of the 7:11 “D”-line bus arriving by 7:30, and chased after him. “Slow down!” … Continue reading

Deck the Malls: The Nightmare After Thanksgiving

  by Walter Brasch   It’s now been about a week after Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. During the four-day spree, about 133.7 million shoppers spent about $50.9 billion, according to AP and TIME magazine. The psychological necessity to push, shove, and trample strangers while fighting for the right to purchase overpriced merchandise made in China has just begun. Thanksgiving—a day when Americans give thanks the Native Americans didn’t have immigration quotas—begins a 30-day frenzy to buy whatever corporate America is selling. It’s an American tradition to give presents to relatives, friends, business associates, and mistresses, all of whom will also give you presents, which will be opened, sometimes enjoyed, and often returned within a week for … Continue reading

Perceptions of Reality— And a Failure of a Grand Jury to Indict

  by Walter Brasch   She quietly walked into the classroom and stood there, just inside the door, against a wall. The professor, his back to her, continued his lecture, unaware of her presence until his students’ eyes began focusing upon her rather than him. “Yes?” he asked, turning to her. Just “Yes.” Nothing more. “You shouldn’t have done it,” she said peacefully. He was confused. So she said it again, this time a little louder, and began yelling. “Ma’am,” he began, but she cut him off. He tried to defuse the situation, but couldn’t reason with her. She pulled a gun from her purse, shot him, and then quickly left. He slumped to his lectern, but quickly recovered. It … Continue reading

How Americans Came to Oppose Fracking

by Walter Brasch   For the first time since high volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as nonconventional fracking, was developed, more Americans oppose it than support it. According to a national survey conducted by the independent non-partisan Pew Research Center, 47 percent of Americans oppose fracking, while 41 percent support it. This is a 7 percent decline in support from March 2013, and a 9 percent increase in opposition. The poll also reveals those who support fracking tend to be conservative men over 50 years old with only a high school education, and living in the South. However, support for fracking has decreased in all categories, while opposition has increased. Fracking is the controversial method of drilling a bore … Continue reading

A Nation of Fear

  by Walter Brasch   Maintenance workers at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pa., airport shot and killed a bear and her three cubs. The bears had crawled under a perimeter fence and were just lying around, several hundred yards from a runway. The airport director claimed the bears might have posed a risk to flights. The mother bear weighed less than most pro football linemen. While the airport officials were worrying about what a bear and her cubs might do, they probably should have been worrying why that fence wasn’t secure. If bears could crawl under it, couldn’t drunks or terrorists also get into unauthorized areas of the airport? Earlier this year, the airport workers killed a bear who had gone onto … Continue reading

Cowardice Plagues Pa. House of Representatives

  by Walter Brasch The Institute for Legislative Action of the National Rifle Association (NRA-ILA) gives politicians Defender of Freedom awards. The award, accompanied by a glowing press release, has little to do with freedom; it has everything to do with legislators advancing the NRA agenda. Usually, the award goes to someone who managed, sometimes against great odds, to ramrod legislation that advances gun rights. However, for 2014 the award should go to someone who not only prostrated himself before the NRA lobby, but in a “two-fer” single-handedly blocked an animal cruelty bill. Pennsylvania State Rep. Mike Turzai is the House Republican majority leader and chair of the Rules Committee. Both the House and Senate are Republican-controlled; Gov. Tom Corbett … Continue reading

Pennsylvania’s Politics of Virtue

  by Walter Brasch   The Pennsylvania Senate, possibly for the first time in its history, stood up against the NRA leadership and extreme gun-rights groups, and voted to ban pigeon shoots. The senators correctly called the ban a matter not of gun rights but of eliminating animal cruelty. The International Olympic Committee in 1900 banned pigeon shoots because of their cruelty and never again listed it as a sport. Most hunters and the state’s Fish and Game Commission says that pigeon shoots are not “fair chase hunting.” Pennsylvania is the only state where there are active pigeon shoots. The vote in the Senate was 36–12. Voting for the bill were 21 Democrats and 15 Republicans. Before the Senate could … Continue reading